Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why Murray Chasshole Pays $9 For A Beer

The Phillies owners have demonstrated by their actions over the years they are closer to the imbecile side of the Bell Curve than the slope indicating the gifted elite. For sure, they have lots of capital -- so does the Ford family -- but that doesn’t mean either group of inbred bluebloods knows how to spend it to secure their future generations’ life of luxury. History has shown repeatedly that fortunes can be lost as quickly as they are accrued, and if you keep on building SUVs after the “liberation” of Iraq, well, you might wind up a little less rich a lot quicker.

In the case of Les Invisibles, they are facing some hefty income problems at the gate of the new playpen after the Bobby Abreu “trade,” which everyone but Pat Gillick has termed a “salary dump.” Petitions have begun to be circulated and boycotts are being organized. Not that the trades of David Bell, Cory Lidle and Rheal Cormier has anything to do with it – this is all about the departure of Comedulce and his total remaining payroll obligation of $21 million. His worshippers are righteously pissed.

All that clattering about is not likely to make them sell the team; other income instruments such as revenue sharing, television rights and merchandising should keep them afloat for a few years, and the thinking is already done for them in that regard. Besides, how many parents are going to tell kids they can’t watch Ryan Howard at the ballpark because the owners suck?

But Bill Giles, Dave Montgomery, Claire Betz and her dog, the Buck Brothers and John Middleton – the ever-intact Les Invisibles roster -- must want to strangle Murray Chass after reading his indictment of their business acumen in yesterday’s New York Times. In case you missed it, the veteran columnist wrote that while the Yankees’ $200 million payroll is an “obscene” disgrace, the playoffs are George Steinbrenner’s “birthright” and the Phillies’ ostensible cheapness in dumping Bobby Abreu’s salary was “more disgraceful than the Yankees” fiscal insanity, as “they play in one of the largest markets in the country, and they act like a small-market team.” Chass pointed out last year’s $95 million payroll last year was whittled down to $88 million this year, and that it demonstrated this mindset.

I will do something now that will surprise and shock. I will defend Les Invisibles’ moves this season and bitch slap this Chasshole, as his reference to Steinbrenner’s inalienable right to win because he is filthy rich is, by inference and extension, an elitist mockery of all things Philadelphian; we know we’re comfortable and corrupt, and we don’t need anybody with a superiority complex telling us that.

Besides, some of us love the misery of it all.

Anyhow, Chasshole, a good hunk of the whittled 2006 payroll can be accounted for by what the Phils pay Jim Thome not to play here anymore -- $5.5 million. Throw in Aaron Rowand $3.25 million they’re on the hook for and all of a sudden, the Phils started the season with a higher payroll – and this was after off-loading Kenny Lofton and Jason Michaels’ combined $5.5 million this season. The Rowand-Shane Victorino tandem makes a million and a half less.

And then there’s the injured and unproductive.

Randy Wolf is “earning” $9.125 million this year. He has started one game, spending the entire season up to now in rehab. I am not here to bury Wolf, but I’m not praising Ed Wade either – this guy would not be worth that money even if he replicated his career-high 16-victory season. But that was in 2003. Since then, he is 11-12 and has cost the team more than $20 million in that span, earning $11 million in 2004 and 2005. Now that’s fucking delivering!

No, I’m not praising Ed Wade – I’m damning him. I’m shredding him a new one. I’m wishing evil thoughts about him. I’m wishing he never lavished those millions and more on the other losers: Mike Lieberthal, Pat Burrell, and yes, even Jelly Roll, a shortstop with a good glove but absolutely no clue at the plate.

Do you think that would put somebody in the mood to risk $8 million on mediocre pitching? Ever hear of Jeff Weaver? As Gillick said after the trades, he’d rather go with the young pitching that’s shown promise. I’m with him on that one. Just take a look at the sweating, obese Jon Lieber. He’s collecting $7.5 million this year. A kid with a future runs you $327,000 and gets better every start if he’s named Cole Hamels. Any questions?

At the very least, the Phils ex-GM’s generosity with Les Invisibles’ cash wasn’t wasted on Billy Wagner, who turned down a few hefty offers and settled for $10.5 this season with the Mets – fully six million more simoleans than what it takes to have Flash Gordon do a better job.

So what does that leave? Our remaining two best position players, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, both of whom, by the way, are having far better seasons than Abreu – historic ones, as a matter of fact -- and both of whom earning a combined $855,000. THAT’S UNDER A MILLION BUCKS TOTAL FOR BOTH.

So, Murray Chasshole, when a team can successfully develop a few minor leaguers, you can save a few dollars. But in a city where a tenement apartment rents for an average of $2,000 a month, that’s probably a little hard to understand. Yankee fans and their owner are like the whores on “Sex and the City.” They need a dick every night, any dick, and at any cost. Then they bitch when the guy can’t hit a homerun. So they go out and buy another one. Philly may be one of the largest markets in the nation, but even a bunch of idiots like Les Invisibles know when they’ve overpaid for mediocrity, and even if they need a dick every night, maybe they know when to step back, take a break, and evaluate their failings.

Here’s hoping Pat Gillick puts whatever money they want to risk to better use than Wade while keeping beer to $6.50 at the ballpark. The Yuengling’s cheaper to drink at home, and the rent is reasonable.


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